Colombia ended Hugo Chavez's try at freeing 45 hostages from Marxist rebels today, Reuters reports. The Venezuelan prez had been brokering their release for weeks when he apparently breached protocol by talking to a Colombian general. "Can you imagine (Russia's president) calling the chairman of the U.S. chiefs of staff and asking about things?" said one analyst. "That is jumping chains of command."
Chavez admitted frustration over the move, and others have asked Colombian President Alvaro Uribe to reconsider—including French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has lobbied for the release of a French politician held by the rebels. "Chavez is the best chance," said a Sarkozy spokesman. Three US contractors, kidnapped more than three years ago, are also among the hostages.